Distance: 11.8 Miles (Out and Back) Difficulty: Hard Elevation: 8,858 Feet Elevation Gain: 4,300 Feet Permit: Adventure Parking Pass Location: Baldy, CA
Every night that we drive to work, I look up and see this giant of a mountain looking down at me. It always made me wonder what it would be like to be at the top of that giant. Well, now I can say I know! We hiked Peak #2 on the 6 Pack of Peaks Challenge and conquered it! Cucamonga Peak is no joke, and very difficult but once you make it to the top its all worth it.
Cucamonga Peak is one of the highest peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains. It is located within Cucamonga Wilderness of the San Bernardino National Forest. The trail begins at Icehouse Canyon Trail Head which is located in the town of Baldy CA. Icehouse Canyon is an extremely popular trail and can get very crowded on weekends making parking obsolete and the trail jam packed. We strongly suggest doing this hike during the week and starting early. Our day started at 8:30am but most people will start this trail at 7am. Be prepared to spend at least 7hours getting to the summit and back.
Icehouse Canyon trail is a gorgeous hike filled with many trees and wildlife. We saw a few deer hanging out at one of the cabins along the trail. There are a couple spots where you will have to cross over (or jump over) small streams of water coming out of the mountain. There is a large stream that you follow along the trail for about 1 1/2 mile. Plenty of people use this stream to cool off on hot summer days. You will hike this trail for 3.5 Miles to the Icehouse Saddle. Here is a great spot to take a quick break and relax before you start the last part to Cucamonga Peak. Be aware that there are 5 different trails that come together at the Saddle, so make sure you follow the right one to continue on towards Cucamonga Peak.
From the saddle, Cucamonga Peak is 2.4 miles of steep and semi exposed trail. This was probably our favorite part of the hike despite how difficult it was. You will head down for a bit but don't worry, you're still on the right trail. The north-facing slop usually holds a good amount of snow late into the season. We had seen a few people post that there were still plenty of ice a few weeks ago but the trail was completely clear for us. We saw maybe one or two patches of snow that were off the trail. The terrain is very rocky and unstable at certain parts so come prepared with proper shoes. There use to be a sign towards the end of the trail for Cucamonga Peak but it has disappeared. At this point it does get a bit confusing. There is a small rock "barrier" to stop hikers from continuing on the well maintained trail towards Etiwanda Peak and a wooden post with a white arrow pointing up. Once you reach this turn right and head up, you're almost to the peak!
The views are amazing on a clear day. The peak overlooks Southern California's Inland Empire. When we made it to the top all we could see where beautiful fluffy clouds. In all honestly, we would much rather see these clouds then the city below. It made us feel like we were completely in the wilderness, far away from all civilization. It was perfect! After taking it all in we grabbed our beers, cheered to conquering peak #2, and relaxed while we ate our lunch. This hike was definitely a difficult hike but beautiful and worth it. The next peak will be San Antonio Peak (Mt Baldy) which we have done before in the past but are excited to complete it again! To check out photos of this hike check out our Cucamonga Peak album on our Facebook page :)